Editor’s Picks: Hospice Shifts to Hospitals, Aging at Home is ‘Oversold’

This week, HHCN readers wanted to know more about where hospice care end-of-life services are heading, as well as the latest challenges to the Department’s of Labor’s rule to extend minimum wage and overtime benefits to home health workers. Here in the newsroom, we were interested in a Wall Street Journal article that showed the potentially unappealing side of aging at home.

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Hospice Shifts from Home to Hospital—Hospice care for end-of-life services has declined in home setting over the last year, while these services have had an increased presence in acute settings, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Home Health Groups Ask Supreme Court to Halt Wage Rules—In a last ditch effort, home health associations have asked the Supreme Court to halt overtime and minimum wage rules from going into effect for home health workers. The Department of Labor rule is scheduled to take effect Oct. 13.

WSJ: Why Aging in Place Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be—Aging at home comes with its own set of challenges—from housing repairs to scarce supportive services. And some are saying the idea of remaining independent at home through retirement “has been a little oversold,” according to a Wall Street Journal article.

Weekend Reads

The Job of the Future Is… Home Health Care—The home health industry will be the fastest growing industry in the coming years, with a projected 1.9 million home health workers by 2022, according to estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Justin Fox pens a Bloomberg piece about why home health may become “the defining industry of our age.”

Congress Raises Red Flag on Proposed Home Health Cuts—While home health workers recently won a major victory when the Department of Labor ruled they are eligible for minimum wage and overtime benefits, policymakers in Washington, D.C., are considering spending cuts that undermine this progress to serve those who want to age in their own homes. Some are calling it “death by a thousand cuts,” The Hill reported.

Telemedicine Expands, Though Financial Prospects Still Uncertain—As more Americans want to age in place, telemedicine is expanding, according to an NPR report. The telemedicine boom could grow to a $3.5 billion market by 2020, an industry analyst of IBIS World told NPR, and more health care companies are looking to expand telemedicine services beyond acute settings to those who receive home care.

Written by Amy Baxter